This will be the 2nd Christmas where we are able to buy the kids something they’ll actually want. It’s also our 2nd Christmas in our new house. This year we’re keeping it simple though…on the gift front… Just one BIGGIE, a medium and their stockings. Oh and my ever practical tradition (it counts as a tradition after twice doesn’t it?) of giving the kids PJs and slipper for Christmas Eve…. Oh all right, and an activity book and some chocolate. <<< keeps them busy while making dinner the next day.
Does that sound mean… only two gifts? Our kids have never lacked for anything… if they need it, they get it… but Christmas, for kids, has never really been about practicality…. For most kids its about the gifts….and later the interesting box it came in. These prezzies for the kids will be our BIGGEST spend… but… it’s also the main focus for the kids. (budget not yet determined… but we wont get too ridiculous… after all money IS an object)
In wartime, practical gifts were the fashion… they had to be… you could get anything from clothing items (hats, gloves, slippers) to gardening equipment.
As you may know I’m hinting for a pasta maker… not just because it’s practical… but because Im boring I find long strips of pasta strangely alluring it’s the sort of thing I find fun it’s a new challenge to add to the experiment, home made pasta. YUM. #NiceSave. We’ll buy the gifts bit by bit from now until early December to spread the cost and I’ll be looking into ‘budget but beautiful’ ways to wrap them. << Have a look at Pinterest for some inspiration… its addictive.
The kids Christmas stockings… I’ll be having a go at making this year, instead of buying, as I have a fair bit of fabric and a sewing machine. Over the next few weeks I’ll be collection its and bits to pop in the stockings… like small packs of playing cards (donkey, old maid, happy family etc), small games, balls, little pencils and note paper, marbles, small toys etc and of course the every important chocolate orange, loose sweeties and mallow mouse in the toe. Since the materials are free, all we’ll be paying for here are the sweets and treats for filling the stockings. I don’t want to go overboard but I do want them to be fun and interesting… Hopefully I can keep the budget low on these. (Would like to keep it well below £20… but it depends on what I can get)
Advent calendars…another thing I plan to make myself and plan to post on. All it will cost is the price of some cheap paper (which we’ll probably already have), the wee chocolates/ sweeties inside and some string/ ribbon, £2 at the most.
Family gifts…£5 for a tin of quality streets does not sound like allot when you say it out loud… However… when you have a LARGE family those £5s soon add up. The kids and I are currently brewing up ideas for home made edible goodies and ways to parcel them up for adult family members. The idea came from ALDI in a weird way. The line I was in (checkout) wrapped round an isle covered in tins of shortbread and butter cookies and so on. I momentarily considered buying a few of the cute tins and then thought to myself…. “I can make those!”… So I shall!
We’ve always enjoyed sending cards to all sorts of family members we usually don’t see or speak to…. The kid’s love receiving them back and hanging them up on the big mirror in our lounge… We’re going to have a bash at either sending them on a budget or making our own this year.
Have you noticed the new (ish) thing in schools now, where you have to buy hundreds of little cards for the children to hand out to their class mates…. Totted up that’s nearly 100 cards… another way to sap your cash. Valentines day is the same. Except this February gone I sent the kids in with some cakes instead… with little foam hearts on top. I plan to do the same this year for Christmas, its more memorable than the cards anyhoo… apart from being cheaper.
Now this wouldn’t be a well-rounded frugal post if I didn’t say something about cash back sites…. Personally we don’t use them.We tend to shop at budget stores that don’t get included on the cash back sites. But in the next few years our 3 little kiddies wont be so little… within the next few years Miss K (9 years old) will be wanting clothing from Top Shop not Asda and make up from Claire’s not Barbies from Argos. Then the percentage off will no doubt be a godsend and not just for Christmas.
One ‘cash back system’ we have used in the past was Tescos club card points. When we paid for our groceries there we handed over our loyalty card and points were added to it for every purchase. These would add up over the year and get used to buy our Christmas dinner/ shopping in December. Morrisons (as well as Tesco) also do a saver stamp card. You get the free card from the checkout and every time you shop you buy a £1 stamp (or more)… You generally save up to £50 (I think), and that’s a nice little egg for the end of the year… when you can cash it in and buy Christmas dinner etc (or at least part of it).
Another ‘something back’ system we used was the Nectar point system. Years ago (before miss E so about 5 years ago) MrC drove HGV lorries, as he would repeatedly stop for petrol over his long journeys across the country he would collect the Nectar points (swiping the loyalty card upon payment for the petrol). These points can be swapped for all sorts of gifts/ entertainment/ outings or in our case it paid for a return ferry crossing from Dover to Calais (UK to France) at any time we liked… which can set you back up to £100 or more in peak time. #BooYa!